TORONTO -- Following the aftermath of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline -- that saw Jake Westbrook, Kerry Wood, Austin Kearns, and Jhonny Peralta find new homes -- manager Manny Acta was left to pick up the pieces on Sunday.
"As much as I didn't want to see any of the guys go, because that's the nature of the game, I'm glad it's over," Acta said. "That way we can just move on and not have all the uncertainty, and guys wondering, around. I'm glad it's over and we're just going to try to continue this tough road trip ahead of us and move forward with our young ballclub."
Now with only two players -- Travis Hafner and Shelley Duncan -- over the age of the 30 on the club's active roster, Acta stressed the importance of a new wave of emerging clubhouse leaders.
"I think that was the biggest loss in Jake [Westbrook] and Kearns, because they were guys that really could lead these guys and be able to talk to them," Acta said. "Right now we're [left] with [Asdrubal] Cabrera and maybe a guy or two out of the bullpen -- it's tough. We're going to let them play first, and then try and find out who can lead here.
"Guys like [Cabrera] and [Shin-Soo] Choo, some of those guys are going to look up to them. It's easier to lead when you are a good player too. People [tend to] listen to you more when you play good [and] if you lead the right way."
With Wood gone, Perez gets to shut door
TORONTO -- Kerry Wood came into this season set to be the Indians' closer.
However, after yet another injury marred campaign, Wood was limited to just 20 innings and eight saves entering Sunday -- providing closer-in-waiting Chris Perez a chance to seize the role.
Perez has relished the opportunity thus far, posting a 2.18 ERA with 11 saves. And with Wood being unexpectedly dealt to the Yankees on the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the 25-year-old stopper no longer has to look over his shoulder.
"We trust this guy," manager Manny Acta said following a rocky, but successful save in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Blue Jays. "We liked what he did here last year and we like what he's done this year whenever Woody wasn't available. He got himself in some trouble there, but he has got pretty good stuff and he is fearless. He stepped up huge in that inning and got the save. Going forward that's his job -- just a matter of time before we handed the job to him"
Acquired nearing last year's Deadline from St. Louis for Mark DeRosa, Perez had only nine career saves before this season.
Perez converted his 12th save of the season, and second in as many days, against the Blue Jays on Sunday. The right-hander allowed the tying run to reach second base, but struck out home run-leader Jose Bautista to preserve the 5-4 lead.
Brown makes Major League debut
TORONTO -- For years, Indians outfielder Jordan Brown paid his dues. On Sunday he was finally rewarded.
The 26-year-old Brown, recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday to fill the void created by Jake Westbrook's departure, got his first Major League start. He was slotted in as designated hitter, batting sixth behind first baseman Matt LaPorta.
"Well I knew [Friday] night, but I didn't want to say anything to anybody except for immediate family until the actual deal was released," an elated Brown said.
Flying from Columbus and connecting in Chicago, Brown arrived in Toronto during the fifth inning of Saturday's 2-1 Indians' victory.
"Just couldn't be a worse day to travel," Brown said of his whirlwind arrival. "I missed my connecting flight because the weather in Chicago was so bad. We sat on the tarmac for an hour, I come back, I miss my flight and I get here in the fifth inning.
"Walked in the dugout and said, 'hey guys what's up?'"
While it was tough for Brown to disguise his excitement, his path to the Majors was not without adversity. After being selected by the Indians in the fourth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, the California native spent six seasons in the Minors, accumulating nearly 2,500 plate appearances.
Brown attributed his positive outlook as what prevented him from settling as a career Minor Leaguer.
"At some point you have to think that way," said Brown, responding to a question about whether he thought he had what it took to play for the big club. "It's impossible to play if that's not your goal. Now that you're here, you might as well stay."
Manager Manny Acta said he plans to give Brown enough at-bats in the foreseeable future to better gauge his talent. Brown, who underwent right-knee surgery early in Spring Training, will see time in both the outfield and at DH. Although with outfielder and touted prospect Michael Brantley eligible to be recalled from Triple-A on August 6, Brown will have to make an early impression to stick around.
"Some of the guys are basically on their evaluation, and will give us a better idea if they're going to be part of the core group that is going to stay here," Acta said. "And going into Spring Training next year, we'll have a better idea of where these guys stand."
Brown hit .309 with six home runs and 63 RBIs through 69 games with Columbus this season.
Brown had a tough introduction to the Majors on Sunday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. In spite of the disappointing showing, Brown said his first taste of the big leagues was fun, but also "nerve racking."
Designated hitter Travis Hafner took batting practice on Sunday, prior to the Indians' contest vs. the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The designated hitter was out of Sunday's lineup, missing his fourth consecutive game with lingering pain in his right shoulder. Manager Manny Acta said he does not plan to put Hafner on the disabled list and will reevaluate the slugger when the team travels to Boston on Monday. ... Manager Manny Acta has yet to name a starter for Tuesday's game against the Red Sox. He said he would eventually like to establish a core five-man rotation, but in the meantime needs to explore all his options before making a set commitment.
Quote to note: Indians outfielder Shelley Duncan following the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline: "It will be weird not seeing those guys around, because they were big presences in the clubhouse, especially Kerry [Wood]. Him in the bullpen, a lot of guys learned a lot from him, he was a good role model. Jake [Westbrook] really set the tone for a lot of starters, people looked up to him. The way Austin [Kearns] carried himself day in and day out, I know a lot of people fed off of that. Hopefully we're going to take what they all taught us and use it to make us better baseball players in the future."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.